SNAKE BITE ROADHOUSE – The Snake bite You Want

From Lisa Lynn Morgan

There are some people in this beautiful desert who have been bitten by a Mojave Green rattlesnake, but they are a minority. Even fewer of them managed to recover without anti-venom. But there is only one Joshua Tree dweller who has been bitten by a Mojave Green, recovered from it without anti-venom, and then turned around and named a restaurant after it. Meet Dion Antic, a long-time entrepreneur, restaurateur, and concept developer who has turned the former Hwy 62 Diner into a playground for grown-ups. With a mile long resume in the industry that spans from Chicago to the West Coast and a creative drive that is constantly churning, Antic is just what this charming but historically challenged Highway 62 property needed.

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Walking into Snake Bite Roadhouse, the design elements immediately take you into another realm. To your right you’ll see a pool table that used to live in Los Angeles at the Rockefeller Mansion. Moving left toward the dining room you’ll pass a small stage that, with Antic’s historied life experience and network, could feature anyone from a popular celebrity impersonator to the actual celebrity. Before entering the iconic dining room, you’ll be greeted by another incredible work of art by local muralist/dreamcatcher, Emily Tayman. The dining room itself is adorned by muralist Syril Strickler making it no longer quaint, but warmer, with artful details that give the venue some serious mojo. And the food? You might call it comfort food with a rockstar complex.

Walking toward the back of the venue you’ll find another bar in a room that lends itself to a great night out with friends listening to live music or just socializing. Moving further back you’ll enter the most unique room yet, a second more casual place for drinks and gathering – the only roller rink in the hi desert. 14-year-old you will be giddy. (Did I just hear someone say, “All skate?”) The roller rink room will be available for private events and parties. You may even find a live band back there (or me busting my moves on my old school 8s hoping that’s all I bust). When asked, “Why a skating rink”, Antic replied, “Why not?”

Antic explains, “I don’t do anything that’s vanilla or in the box. I like taking things that have been neglected or abandoned and turning them into something fun and unique, giving people the opportunity to use it as an extension of their living room. Ideally people can come and grab a great burger and a cold beer any day of the week, then pop into the lounge, play pool, watch some movies, or just hang out. The menu is a collection of my greatest hits from 40 years in the business. I’ve put some of my bestsellers out there and given them some updates. I’ve been making the lemon butter bowtie pasta dish since 1992. My wings are the same wings I’ve been making for just as long.” Antic has even created a dish called, “The Joshua Tree Taco,” that he feels encapsulates the Joshua Tree experience. It’s made with nopales cactus, two different style mushrooms, pickled onion, and served on a fresh corn tortilla. “Whatever we have on the menu will never be ‘normal,’” Antic explains. “You can get a steak or a burger, but it’s always going to have a fun ingredient twist. It’s different, but not bougie. You’ll always leave happy, fed, and satisfied without breaking the bank.”

If you haven’t been by the newly transformed Snake Bite Roadhouse, there will be no better time to do it than Saturday night, Halloween weekend, for The Cancelled and the Dead Halloween Extravaganza. The roller rink will be put to scary use with a Zombie Clown Roller Derby, DJs who will keep the party bumpin, and live performances that will include the highly sought after Amy Winehouse tribute artist, Dear Amy. There will be no cover charge. A costume is your ticket to this event. Dressing up as your favorite cancelled or dead celebrity gets you into a party that will be packed with a plenty of surprises.

Quite honestly, if Guy Fieri walked through the front door of this biker and everybody-else-friendly Roadhouse, he might not want to leave…….ever. Neither will you.

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